Facebook is making a new feature available to users in Afghanistan that blocks a profile at the touch of a button. This protects the profile from strangers. The measure follows the takeover by the Taliban in the country.
The new functionality was announced by Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security at Facebook. Blocking a profile with one click is part of a series of measures the company is taking to protect users in Afghanistan.
Facebook made the one-click profile blocker tool available to users in the country on Thursday. After blocking, anyone who is not a friend will no longer be able to share or download the account’s profile picture, Gleicher writes. Also, the timeline of the account is only shown to friends.
In addition, Facebook has set that friend lists of users in Afghanistan can no longer be searched. Steps have also been taken for Instagram to help users protect themselves. Instagram accounts that are active in Afghanistan will receive a pop-up with steps on how to better protect an account.
The measures are being taken out of fear for the safety of users now that the Taliban have seized power in the country. The Taliban’s leaders previously said they would not retaliate against journalists, interpreters, former government officials and others who have collaborated with the West. Reports are now coming out that the Taliban are indeed looking for opponents. A family member of the man was shot dead on Thursday in a manhunt for a German journalist.
Several platforms are warning Afghans to be careful with what they share on social media. Facebook executive Gleicher warns that Facebook is only “part of the online identity” and that people should protect all their accounts.